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Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)

Davis, CA

https://caff.org/ecologicalfarming/

Ecological Farming Outreach and Extension: Enhancing the accessibility and implementation of soil health and ecological pest management

 

Desired Skills/Traits:

  • Desired Academic Background and Knowledge 

    • Potential fellows should have background/ education in sustainable agriculture which may include coursework/ knowledge in entomology, integrated pest management, agronomy, agroecology, organic agriculture, soil health, etc. Education in analyzing agricultural or environmental data would be helpful.

    • Demonstrated ability to enhance and effectively deliver programs and build relationships with diverse audiences through understanding of self, language, culture, and community is also an important component in serving with CAFF.

  • Primary Skills

    • Strong communication skills (written and verbal)

    • Experience with data entry and organization

    • Spanish Proficiency (intermediate to high) would be very helpful.

    • The fellow should also be comfortable with spending several hours working on a computer. 

  • Secondary Skills (Not necessary but would be helpful)

    • Lab experience with microscopes

    • Experience with multimedia for resource development (could include basic website development, video, photography, graphic design, podcasts, etc.)

    • Experience and/or familiarity working in or around agriculture

    • Familiarity with providing technical assistance; event coordination. 

Openings: 1 of 1

caff.jpeg
Focus Area: Agriculture

Education & Outreach, Regenerative Agriculture, Climate Mitigation & Adaptation

project breakdown

Research

30%

Planning

10%

Implementation

25%

Education & Outreach

35%

Goals & Needs

CAFF has been working for 45 years to build sustainable food and farming systems that benefit farmers, communities and ecosystems. We have programs in a number of areas including Food Safety, Small-Farm Tech Hub, Wildfire Resilience, Farm to Market, Policy advocacy and Ecological Farming. The Ecological Farming program area houses two of CAFF's core on-the-ground programs: Ecological Pest Management (EPM) and Climate Smart Farming. Within Ecological Farming we work with farmers, researchers, and local extension professionals to investigate and promote farming practices that have the capacity to enhance the health of California's agroecosystems. The practices and farming systems we work on aim to reduce the application of pesticides, increase on-farm biodiversity and habitat for beneficials, increase soil health and carbon sequestration, and increase on-farm resilience to drought and flood, conserve natural resources like topsoil and water and improve overall on-farm productivity and resilience in the long-term. The GrizzlyCorps member will be joining the Ecological Farming team to support on Ecological Pest Management work, Latinx Farmer Engagement, a project on barriers and motivations to adoption for soil health as well as Ecological Farming technical assistance, outreach and extension. Through this work, the fellow will be actively working towards: 1) filling research and knowledge gaps in ecological pest management strategies to reduce pesticide use in cropping systems, 2) improving adoption of soil health practices through understanding barriers and motivations to adoption, and 3) improving adoption and accessibility of regenerative farming practices to both English and Spanish-speaking farmers through resources, technical assistance and extension. This service would contribute significantly to: 1) building the capacity of local community resilience through supporting the development of local farmer-to-farmer co-learning networks; 2) increasing carbon sequestration through the extension and implementation support of soil health practices that increase carbon and improve resilience to climate destabilization, and 3) bolstering regenerative agri-food systems through the promotion of regenerative farming practices and the reduction of agricultural pesticide applications that compromise environmental and human health.

Capacity Building Projects

Project 1: Ecological Farming:

Synthesizing farmer interviews to better understand motivations and barriers to adoption of soil health practices in California’s Central Valley. For this project, the fellow will work closely with Ecological Farming staff to review, code and synthesize farmer interviews and surveys to deepen understanding farmer experience of the benefits and challenges of adopting soil health practices on their farms. This will contribute to a report that will include recommendations for policy makers and technical assistance providers to have increased knowledge and understanding of the benefits and challenges farmers face in the process of implementation of regenerative practices.

 

Project 2: Ecological Pest Management (EPM):

Processing samples, data entry, and data organization and cleaning. For this project, the fellow would perform basic sample specimen preparation and identification (training provided) for EPM research projects. The desired outcome  would be prepared specimens that are then sent to a University lab for identification and counts of key pest and natural enemy arthropods on sticky cards. This project would contribute towards successful research outcomes for the EPM project, enabling analysis that would demonstrate the efficacy of EPM practices in comparison to conventional pest management. The fellow will also work on developing resources related to identification of pest and prey arthropods and IPM methods. Resources developed may include fact sheets, case studies, videos, or creating drawers of key arthropod specimen. These resources will enable farmers to make informed decisions around the implementation of EPM practices in order to reduce pesticide use.

 

Project 3: Ecological Farming: Event Coordination.

For this project, the fellow would work with the Ecological Farming team to help plan and coordinate extension events to promote discussion and education around regenerative agriculture practices including biological control, cover crops, pollinator planting and hedgerows. The desired outcome would be to build farmer-to-farmer co-learning networks to support knowledge sharing around the implementation of regenerative agriculture practices. This will contribute to  increased knowledge and understanding of the benefits and challenges farmers face in the process of implementation and increased adoption of regenerative practices.

Project 4: Ecological Farming: Resource Development.

For this project, the fellow would support adding content to the Ecological Farming Program website to share resources and project updates with farmers interested in adopting more sustainable farming management practices. Other resource development may include case studies, blogs and videos. The desired outcome would be to develop accessible farmer-facing resources that are based on both scientific data and farmer experience that promote education around Ecological Farming practices. We believe that ultimately these resources will play an important role in filling knowledge gaps around Ecological Farming practices.

 

Project 5: Ecological Farming: Technical Assistance.

For this project the fellow would work with the Ecological Farming team to engage directly with farmers to provide technical assistance around implementing regenerative agriculture practices on their farms, often for the first time. The desired outcome would be to assist farmers applying to programs that provide incentives for planting pollinator habitat and implementing soil health practices (such as the Healthy Soils Program), as well as providing assistance around implementation. This project would directly contribute to increasing the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices as well as building connections with farmers who benefit from CAFF's support.

 

Project 6: Ecological Farming: Outreach and Engagement with Latinx farmers.

The fellow will work closely with CAFF’s Bilingual Ecological Farming Program Manager to build capacity around our work engaging and building relationships with Latinx farmers to share opportunities for assistance, educational resources and better understanding around resource gaps. The fellow will also support with coordination of Spanish-language farmer-to-farmer extension activities. If Spanish proficiency allows, the fellow will also contribute to content creation and translation of outreach materials. This would contribute to increasing accessibility and relevance of our Ecological Farming work to Latinx farmers, as well as CAFF's work in general to build relationships and networks with Latinx farmers.

Organizational & Community Highlights

 

CAFF is a values driven organization; CAFF values are ecological stewardship, justice and equity, practical solutions, economic fairness, centering farmers and strong local communities.The staff are strongly committed to the mission we are serving -- to build sustainable food and farming systems through policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs that create more resilient family farms, communities, and ecosystems. While CAFF staff work primarily within teams to carry out  programs and projects, there are frequent opportunities to connect across the organization through weekly meetings, organizational initiatives and collaborations across multiple programs. The culture at CAFF is one of friendliness and good humor and encourages a healthy work-life balance. People at CAFF are working on things they care about while finding time to connect with others. CAFF encourages creativity in problem solving, collaboration and regular reflection on whether the work is in alignment with our values and meeting the needs of the community. As such, it's a great place to work on professional development. CAFF is based in Davis and is located at the beautiful TS Glide Ranch, about 5 miles out of town. Davis is surrounded by agriculture and is also a university town (UC Davis), which makes for an engaging community, especially for folx interested in ag. Davis is a very safe, friendly, and very bike-friendly town. Davis is also very close (about 14 miles) to Sacramento, which is America's Farm to Fork capital and a multicultural hub. 

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